On November 21-22, 2014, I organized a hands-on R Workshop through the Warren Center featuring Yihui Xie and Dirk Eddelbuettel. This page contains an archive of the material covered in the workshop, along with setup instructions.

Yihui’s Material

Dirk’s Material

Laptop Setup Instructions

Step 1: Install R and RStudio

You’ll first need to download and install R from CRAN. In this workshop we’ll interact with R via a front-end called RStudio so that everyone sees the same interface regardless of operating system. After installing R, you can download and install RStudio here. If you run into any problems, detailed video instructions are available for Mac and Windows on Youtube. If you’re running Linux, we’ll assume you already know what you’re doing ;)

Step 2: Familiarize Yourself with R and R Studio

If you’ve never used R or RStudio before, don’t panic! The first session will be an overview of R and we’re going to do our best to make sure that you can still benefit from the workshop. If you’ve done a little programming in a language like python or matlab, you should be fine. If you haven’t, that’s ok too but it might be worth spending a little time familiarizing yourself with R and RStudio before the workshop. I recommend starting with the Try R interactive tutorial from O’Reilly’s Code School. It’s free and doesn’t require that you have R installed on your machine: you can do everything in a browser window. You may also want to take a look at my R Tutorials for Econ 103 at Penn. Links to the tutorials and solutions are posted here (scroll down to “R Tutorials”). RStudio is fairly self-explanatory but if you’ve never done any programming before you may want to take a look at this video by Peter Rossi.

Step 3: Install R Packages

During the workshop we’ll use a number of packages to extend the functionality of R in helpful ways: pkgKitten, knitr, rmarkdown, and RcppArmadillo. RcppArmadillo is only needed for our final session on high performance computing. Since it’s a bit harder to set up, I’ll discuss it as a separate item below. In this step you will need to install the other three packages: pkgKitten, knitr and rmarkdown. This is very easy to do using RStudio. Simply open the program and follow the instructions in this video. Instead of entering modest into the dialog box, enter pkgkitten. Then go back and repeat the same process for knitr and rmarkdown.

Step 4: Install RcppArmadillo

This step is only necessary if you’ll be joining us for the final session on high-performance computing. This session will be a bit more technically involved as we’ll be learning how to use C++ code from within R to speed up computationally intensive algorithms. If you’re running Linux, setting up RcppArmadillo is easy: you already have all the necessary compilers on your machine so you simply need to install the package from within RStudio as in Step 3 above. On Windows, things are more complicated. Before installing RcppArmadillo from within RStudio, you’ll need to download and install Rtools. If you’re running Mac OSX, you’ll need to sign up for a free developer account with Apple here. Then you’ll need to log in and install the Command Line Tools for Xcode. At this point, Rcpp should be working properly. To get RcppArmadillo working (at least on Mavericks), you’ll need to follow the instructions here to make sure you have the correct version of Fortran installed.